Since being elected president in 1998, Hugo Chavez has become the face of contemporary Venezuela and, more broadly, anticapitalist revolution. George Ciccariello-Maher contends that this focus on Chavez has obscured the inner dynamics and historical development of the country s Bolivarian Revolution. In "We Created Chavez," by examining social movements and revolutionary groups active before and during the Chavez era, Ciccariello-Maher provides a broader, more nuanced account of Chavez s rise to power and the years of activism that preceded it.
Based on interviews with grassroots organizers, former guerrillas, members of neighborhood militias, and government officials, Ciccariello-Maher presents a new history of Venezuelan political activism, one told from below. Led by leftist guerrillas, women, Afro-Venezuelans, indigenous people, and students, the social movements he discusses have been struggling against corruption and repression since 1958. Ciccariello-Maher pays particular attention to the dynamic interplay between the Chavez government, revolutionary social movements, and the Venezuelan people, recasting the Bolivarian Revolution as a long-term and multifaceted process of political transformation.